A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Boys of Lunch

I meant to write this post yesterday, but my work day was short and filled with data entry, meetings, pizza, and emails. After work was filled with errand running, cooking, laundry, and packing. I'd also planned to go the gym, but the class I wanted to take was canceled due to the gym closing at 8PM. Oh well.

Anyway, I ran at lunch with just some of the guys in the group at work on Tuesday. I managed to keep up with them which is always nice. It was cool and windy but, thankfully, not raining.

We did the "long" three mile route. The other woman in the group calls it this because she says it feels like longer than 3 miles. Since I'm the only one in the group with a Garmin, I had to inform them that, yes, it is indeed longer than 3 miles. That it's more like 3.75. "But wait," one of the guys said, "that would mean that our 4 mile route is more like 4.5."

"Yes," I said. "It is."

They all seem very intrigued by the Garmin. I'm honestly surprised none of them have one yet. Actually, I take that back. One guy has one but he doesn't wear it on lunch time runs. I admit that I think it's totally strange that you would have one but not wear it. I LOVE mine.

Just before mile 3 of this route, there's a small, short hill. It's not much compared to those of you that live in actual hilly areas, but it's still a hill. I'm not sure why or how this happened, but I don't suck at hills. In fact, by the time we reached the top of this one I was leading the pack when previously I'd been falling further and further behind. The downside to leading the pack at the top of the hill?

Geese. Lots and lots of Canadian geese. Geese that have no respect for runners. I was literally running on the heels of one goose that refused to move off the sidewalk. Every time it flapped it's wings I was terrified it was going to turn around and lunge at me. Not to mention having to dodge all the goose poop. Gross.

Thankfully we escaped without injury.

That evening I went to the gym to do strength training. Many of you have expressed amazement that I do 45 minutes of weights. So, I timed myself to see how long it would take me to do Tuesday night's segment. The print-out was focused on legs. I warmed up with 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill (for a total of 1 mile) and then started the timer on my stop watch. The Legs workout, including the ab series at the end, took me 36 minutes. It was an intense 36 minutes, though. My abs still hurt.

Today I am off to drive the 2.5 hours to my hometown to spend the holiday weekend with my family. I'll be staying at my mom's house and I'm hoping to tag along on her fitness routine of walking 5 miles in the mornings.

I'm thankful that when I visit family and friends they don't think it's weird if I say I need to go out for a run. Heck, I'm thankful that I CAN run. I'm thankful that I've been running for over 2 years without any serious injury. And I'm thankful for all the people who comment on this blog (or elsewhere) with congrats, advice, or just their thoughts. Having this blog has definitely changed my running for the better.


Tuesday's Stats

Route:--Elev. Avg:591 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:-6 ft
Date:11/24/09Up/Downhill: [+121/-127]
Time:12:19 PMDifficulty:1.8 / 5.0
 48 F temp; 92% humidity
 48 F heat index; winds SE 9

Distance: 3.63 miles
Speed:6.9 mph
Pace:8' 42 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 47+0' 056.8-0.1-26 ft
28' 59+0' 176.7-0.2+14 ft
38' 38-0' 046.9+0.0+3 ft
end8' 30-0' 127.0+0.2+3 ft
Versus average of 8' 42 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10K Race Report

This race wasn't even on my radar until the group I run with at lunch mentioned they were all going to run it and then go out for breakfast afterward. Being someone who easily succumbs to peer pressure and who doesn't like to feel left out, I decided to run it at the last minute. Having just PR'ed two weeks before I figured I'd just run it for fun and not worry about my time.

The morning started out sunny but chilly. Thankfully, Jason let me borrow his coat while we stood around waiting to meet up with the rest of the group. In the end, 7 of us from the university where I work ended up running and one person's spouse ran with us as well. I only got a photo of a few of us, though.

I registered race morning. It was the first time I'd ever done that and I have to say that this race was super-well organized and there were no crazy lines or chaos in the registration tent. The only downside? I had to get a medium sized shirt instead of a small. It's really ugly, though, so I don't know if I would wear it anyway.

Compared to my last 10K, this course was not only super-flat, but it was also much easier to understand on the map. Jason likes to check out the map so that he can plan his intercept points.

I have the most amazing husband. Not only does he get out of bed early on a weekend morning to cheer for me, he brings the camera, runs around trying to get photos of me, and stands around in the cold/heat/etc waiting for me to finish. He's my very own athletic supporter :-)

Speaking of which, this race was perfectly laid out for multiple intercept points. Jason took a TON of photos of me. And a lot of this guy:

Click the picture to see larger

I guess it's not every day you see someone running with a turkey on his head.

Anyway, I can't quite recall what photos were taken at what point. I was actually trying really hard not to look at my Garmin and just run by feel. But here's what I do remember.

Just after the first mile marker. I was feeling quite good. The course was a little bit crowded but they had smartly started the 5K walk at 9:00 and the 5K and 10K runs at 8:45. Hence, fewer walkers to dodge. Excellent.

Perhaps around mile 3? Still feeling good but also starting to tire out a little bit. But, there was a woman running in front of me who was essentially wearing pajamas. Flannel pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt. I was NOT going to let myself be beaten by someone running in pajamas, so I made it my goal to pass her. I did :-)

I think this was between mile 4 and 5. I was definitely starting to wear out. But, based on the clocks at each mile marker and the peaks I sneaked at my watch, I was averaging under a 9 minute mile. And when Jason started cheering for me while taking pictures, I got a little boost of energy. When he started jogging down the sidewalk along side me and shouting "Keep it up! You can do it! Make it another personal best!!" I knew this was no longer going to be a race just for the fun of it.

See, in my last race report I indicated that when I realized I'd banked a lot of time at the beginning I let myself slow down after the third mile. Someone over at the LJ Runner's Community said that meant I could have gone faster. So, this time I decided to see if I could hold my pace for two more miles. If I could, it would be another personal record. And just two weeks after my last one!

So, I gritted my teeth and kept going. Even though I felt like I was going to vomit for the last half mile. I managed to keep my Clif bar down, though, and when I saw the clock at the finish line, I ran as hard as I could.

I hit the stop button on my Garmin as my foot touched the timing mat. I grabbed a bottle of water and briefly contemplated puking. But I didn't want to do it in someone's front yard and I couldn't find a trash can. As I sipped the water, though, my stomach calmed down. And when I looked at my watch I could barely believe my eyes. When Jason found me I couldn't even speak. I just held out my wrist. I was in a daze. A happy, happy daze.

Because, my time? 54:49. Almost two minutes faster than two weeks before. AND I broke the 55 minute mark. A goal I didn't even know I had in me yet.

After finding the rest of the group (all but two of them finished faster than me. They are speed demons!) we headed off to stuff ourselves with pancakes and chocolate milk. A great race followed by fun company. And to think I almost didn't run this race.

Official Race Stats:

Time: 54:49
Average Pace: 8:50 minute/mile
Overall Place: 232/502
Female Age Group Place: 20/51 (although, technically, I was 19/50 since the person listed as coming in 2nd in the Female Age Group was actually one of the guys from our group from work. Somehow the race official entered his sex in wrong. Yes, we've been making fun of him. And, yes, he's going to contact them so they can give the awards to the correct people.)
Overall Female Place: 74/265


Garmin Stats (take a look at how FLAT this course was. Perfect for a PR! Also, Bones in Motion rounded off my 54:49.99 time to 54:50. Otherwise my Garmin time matched my official race results exactly.)

Route:--Elev. Avg:609 ft
Location:Lincolnwood, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:11/22/09Up/Downhill: [+16/-16]
Time:08:46 AMDifficulty:2.1 / 5.0
 44 F temp; 85% humidity
 44 F heat index; winds S 8

Distance: 6.21 miles
Speed:6.8 mph
Pace:8' 50 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 37-0' 137.0+0.2+3 ft
28' 36-0' 147.0+0.20 ft
38' 53+0' 036.8-0.00 ft
48' 55+0' 056.7-0.10 ft
59' 06+0' 166.6-0.20 ft
69' 02+0' 126.6-0.2-3 ft
end7' 48-1' 027.7+0.90 ft
Versus average of 8' 50 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rainy Run


Image source
Imagine four little runners way off in the distance and you'll have an idea of what we were doing yesterday. That's Soldier Field in background. We run right by there.

Yes, you know you're a crazy runner when you head out for a lunch time run in the cold November drizzle. Thankfully, there were 4 of us that were crazy enough to run at lunch yesterday. My Garmin, on the other hand, decided it wanted nothing to do with me and failed to respond to any button pushing or bezel tapping. It was content to inform me that it was 8:16AM on November 19th. Except that it wasn't. I was surprisingly zen about the whole thing. The rain, the cold, the lack of Garmin. I figured the rain would make my hair curly. I'd warm up after a few minutes. And I'd figure out the Garmin issue one way or another.

So, I have no idea how fast we were running. But I do know we went somewhere between 4 and 4.5 miles. I'm going to go with 4.5 because, hey, why not? Also, the sun came out during the second half of our run and I actually felt a little too warm in my capris and long-sleeved shirt.

And, yes, they talked me into the 10K on Sunday. Again, why not? I don't expect to PR and yesterday's run felt okay. I just hope we figure out where to meet ahead of time so that I'm not standing around alone. What's the point of agreeing to run a race with other people if you can't find anyone else who said they'd be there?

The other nice thing about running at lunch? You don't have to do cardio at the gym that evening! Instead, I did 45 minutes of weights combining some of the exercises the trainer showed me with the printout from the training software program.

On Wednesday night I tried out the actual FITJam class at the gym. This is the one that's a combo of all different dance styles. It was okay. I certainly worked up a good sweat. I didn't love the instructor, though. Or, really, many of the moves. However, some of that may have been because I didn't know the steps or the music. I think I'm going to try alternating between this class and the one right after it (the Hi/Lo class). Hopefully after a few weeks I'll have a good feel for which one I like better. Either way, they're both great cardio and a nice change from running or ellipticalling. What's your favorite way to get in cardio (other than running)?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cable Time

Have you ever used the cable machine? I never had. I've always been intimidated by all the options and sweaty guys that hang around it. But last night the trainer at the gym showed me that it doesn't have to be scary.

In fact, the thing I learned about the cable machine is that it really allows you to work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Abs and arms? Chest and legs? Arms and legs? Core and legs and arms? Yep, it can do all those things.

I wish I knew names for all the things she showed me or how to find photos or instructions of them online. I could describe them all but that would get long and tedious and I probably wouldn't do a very good job. I can tell you, though, that she would show me how to do one exercise, have me to do that that for 10 reps, show me another exercise (again, with 10 reps) and then alternate between the two for two or three sets, depending. We did a lot of things standing on one leg or incorporating squats and lunges into chest presses or lat pull downs. And, of course, we used the stability ball for this torturous move:

Thankfully, she let me alternate the Pike move pictured above with just tucking my knees into my chest. We switched between Pikes and chest presses:

We did wall sits with a resistance band tied around my thighs for adductor and abductor exercises. Ohhh, that made my quads burn! She pointed out that I probably have pretty strong glute and hip muscles otherwise those would have burned more, too. This was alternated with a hip/core exercise using the stability ball.

Finally, we ended with a series of side planks (I LOVE side planks. No joke.) and an attempt at something called "dead bug". I can't find a picture of exactly what she had me do, but let's just say it involved using my lower ab muscles. Of which I have none. I warned her, but she was still surprised at how hard it was for me anyway. All the other exercises I managed to do with flying colors (except for doing 10 Pikes in a row. Ugh.). It's just those pesky lower ab moves that are my kryptonite.

I'm still contemplating how to work some of these moves into my strength training. I'm thinking that I might substitute them when the ActiveTrax program suggests a machine that would work the same or similar muscle group.

After an hour of strength training (which included a short quarter mile warm-up jog on the treadmill) I tied on my bandanna and strapped on my iPhone in order to get in 3 miles on the treadmill.

I, uh, failed.

Part of it was that I had said I'd be home for dinner at a certain time and I ran out of time before I hit 3 miles. Part of it was that I just wasn't feeling the running. I did 2.25 miles so combined with the quarter mile from earlier I guess I did a total of 2.5. Ugh. Not even 30 minutes of cardio!

I've just been so tired lately. Running has seemed harder than usual since my 10K race. This is either due to the monthly hormone shift or my body is just telling me it wants a break. I was thinking about doing two aerobics classes tonight but I think I'll just stick to one. I also still have the option of running another 10K race on Sunday with the people from my work running group. I suppose I could run it but I seriously doubt it would be one of my best races. It would definitely be more for the camaraderie building experience than the racing experience. I guess if we run at lunch tomorrow I'll see how I feel and then make my decision.

Monday, November 16, 2009

10K Bookends

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Replace "cat" with "dogs" and you have my Saturday morning. I originally set my alarm so that I would be up and on the road running by 8AM. But, when my alarm went off I immediately wanted to go back to sleep. My body was sore and tired from a busy week and a new gym routine.

However, the dogs had other ideas. Therefore, after ignoring their whining and barking for 30 minutes, I gave in. I dragged myself out of bed so that they could be fed and decided that while I was up I might as well go for a run. I usually like to go for at least 8 miles on Saturdays, but after adding up my mileage for the week I realized I only needed to do another 10K to hit 20 miles for the week.

See, I'm also participating in Pile on the Miles 2009. And while I have no chance of winning any of the awards for the most mileage, I'd like to not look like a total slacker. So, a 6.2 mile run on Saturday it would be.

I decided to take it nice and slow. This would be the bookend to my fast 10K just a few days earlier. Overall it was an uneventful run. I totally forgot to hit the STOP button on my Garmin when I hit 6.2 miles so it kept recording while I stretched and got myself a glass of chocolate milk. That totally threw my average pace off! Oops.

I'm feeling a few twinges here and there. My right arch feels funny occasionally. It's difficult to describe but it's almost as if it's really tight and being stretched makes it tingle. I think I need to massage it. Also, after my run on Saturday morning I spent a good chunk of the rest of the day sitting. Most of that was in the car to and from having lunch with Kate. My right hip did not appreciate having to move my leg from the accelerator to the break, but lunch was great and I loved meeting Kate so I'd say it was worth it. Just need to remember to stretch a lot this week!

Finally, I actually went to the gym on a Sunday for the first time in what may be, well, forever. I had time to kill so I decided to head over there and lift some weights.

Click to see full sized

I warmed up with 10 minutes on the elliptical and then did the routine pictured above. It's supposed to take 30 minutes, but I didn't time myself. Also, I usually skip the ab workouts listed and do my own thing with the stability ball. But, I love having a little checklist that changes so that I don't always do the same thing over and over or wander around the weight floor looking lost. It's like having a personal trainer without the cost. So cool.


Stats (which are off because they include me just standing around in my kitchen and walking around my house at the end)

Route:--Elev. Avg:626 ft
Location:Forest Park, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:11/14/09Up/Downhill: [+121/-121]
Time:08:27 AMDifficulty:2.1 / 5.0
 51 F temp; 65% humidity
 51 F heat index; winds SW 8

Distance: 6.40 miles
Speed:5.5 mph
Pace:10' 55 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 17-1' 386.5+1.0+3 ft
29' 40-1' 156.2+0.7+10 ft
39' 39-1' 166.2+0.7-10 ft
49' 51-1' 046.1+0.6+10 ft
59' 52-1' 036.1+0.6-10 ft
610' 06-0' 495.9+0.4-4 ft
end27' 38+16' 432.2-3.30 ft
Versus average of 10' 55 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

In the Bucket

It's 4PM on Friday. I'm really looking forward to my weekend and, as such, have pretty much slacked off for the rest of the afternoon. So, while killing time, I read Kate's post about things that you've already done that you would consider cool or meaningful to you. Sort of an "Already in the bucket" bucket list.

One of the things on my bucket list was to run a half-marathon. Well, I've now done that twice over. Running a marathon and getting my half-marathon time under 2 hours are still on the list, but I thought I would follow Kate's lead and create my own "it's already in the bucket" list.

As I wrote in my comment on Kate's post, my memory of personal events can be shoddy but here's what I came up with while thinking about it:

*I’ve climbed a waterfall in Jamaica
*I went away for college when almost all my friends (and my boyfriend) were staying local
*I moved away from all my friends and family for a new job
*I’ve ridden around with police officers during the wee hours of the morning on a college campus…and not in the back seat
*I took archery lessons
*I went from not being able to run a mile to being able to run a half-marathon
*I did touristy things all by myself in both D.C. and Las Vegas
*I’ve ridden a horse in Mexico
*I’ve gotten two tattoos both of which I love
*I won honorable mention in an Invent America contest
*I won medals and ribbons at dance camp and at regional and statewide theater, speech, and choir competitions
*I graduated high school as one of several valedictorians
*I graduated college summa cum laude
*I played in a junior high school jazz band
*I’ve been on stage in a high school production of Guys and Dolls and done make-up for many other productions
*I’ve seen the world premier of a musical
*I tried out for and made my high school's dance team and didn't miss a single performance
*I've been on TV
*I've been interviewed for several newspaper articles
*I've explored the unearthed streets of Pompeii
*I've handled autopsy photos, drugs, murder weapons, and blood splattered evidence
*I've adopted three shelter dogs and one who just needed a different home

What about you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tired, Sore and Sleepy

I is tired wurk tooƂ hard
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I'm still here. I haven't dropped off the face the planet after my awesome race on Sunday. In fact, I've been working out harder than ever it seems. It's just been a crazy week both at work and after work. But some of that craziness has come in the form of going to my new gym. So that's good!

Tuesday evening I tried out the computer generated strength training workout at the gym. I meant to take a photo of the print-out but got distracted by how much fun I was having. It's been over a year since I did any kind of strength training using weight machines and I had forgotten how much I like it. I did all the weight machines listed but ended up skipping the four ab exercises in favor of getting in a run.

5K on the treadmill in 28:something. About what I would have done if I'd been able to run outside at lunch so that made me happy. I'm getting so spoiled by these fancy, bouncy treadmills at the gym that I fear my little treadmill in my scary basement is going to get neglected. I didn't even turn on the tv on the fancy gym treadmill. I'm going to be vain here and admit that I like watching myself run. Something about watching the glisten of sweat appear on my reflection. Watching my shoulders move. Watching my collarbones stand out. It's beautiful and sexy. And sometimes that's better than anything I could watch on tv.

I did listen to music, though. And, yes, I mouthed along with many of the words. At least I think I mouthed along. No one ran away screaming so I'm assuming I wasn't singing out loud.

Last night I really wanted to attend the "FITJam" class at the gym. It's described as being:

a heart-pumping dance class incorporating moves from Latin Dance (salsa, merengue, bachata and cha-cha), Capoeira, bellydance and hip-hop. Work those hips, tone and tighten the mid section, and have a blast doing it!

The only downside? It starts at 6PM meaning I'd need to leave work early in order to make it home in time to change and drive to the gym.

But, wait! There is a train that goes from across the street from my office to across the street from the gym. Maybe if I took that train I could make it in time. So, last night I decided to try it out.

Success! However, the class has a substitute teacher who normally teaches "Hi/Low Impact". I don't know if he did his Hi/Low class or if he did the FITJam class but either way it was super fun and I had a great time. Lots of hopping and dancing and arm waving. And he was hilarious. Afterward I did some ab work with the stability ball and then called Jason to pick me up. I'll definitely be trying this again next week.

However, today I am SORE. And last night while I was doing ab work I tweaked my left hamstring. I used the foam roller to roll it out immediately and that seemed to help. I ran at lunch today (approximately 4.5 miles...same as last Thursday) and it didn't bother me. But now I'm tired and sore.

Originally I was scheduled to meet up with the trainer tonight to go over some strength training for runners. I had to reschedule, though, because the husband got us free tickets to tonight's final dress rehearsal before the world premier tomorrow night of The Addams Family: A Musical". Free tickets to see Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth perform? Yes, I'll reschedule the gym for that. See, I have my priorities straight :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Westchester VeteRUN 10K 2009

Last year I ran this race wearing tights, a fleece, gloves, and wishing I'd brought my fleece headband to keep my ears warm. This year I ran in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes in a lot of other ways, too.

I brought my mini Clif bar and my chocolate milk to packet pick-up the morning of the race. I'm still trying to figure out the perfect time to eat before running, but during most of my weekend training runs I eat about 30-45 minutes before I head out the door. I've found recently that the mini Clif bar and chocolate milk combo seems to work well. But, since we were supposed to pick up our packets and race numbers by 8:15 AM and the race didn't start until 9:00 AM, I waited to eat until after we'd arrived at the race venue.

I stood around in the sun while the race organizers had a choir sing some patriotic songs, someone from Veterans' Affairs spoke, and the flag was raised to the sound of taps. Although it was much warmer than last year, I was still a little chilly.

I hit up the portapotties, ate my breakfast, and then wandered over to the start line. I realized with about 30 seconds to go before gun-time that I had to pee again. Oh well!

And then we were off.

I'd started further up than usual hoping that would decrease the dodging. It didn't. I still struggled to find an nice, clear spot where I wasn't constantly on people's heels. The urge to pass anyone and everyone was strong. "Run your own race," I repeated over and over again. It will clear out. Don't wear yourself out.

Shortly before the first mile we turned onto the bike path where I do a lot of my long runs. I love that this race covers a section of course I know like the back of my hand. I know all the landmarks and can easily gauge my progress. Yet, when we hit the first mile and my Garmin beeped I was a little shocked.

8 minutes and 55 seconds.


See, my goals for this race were just to come in under an hour. Heck, 59:58 would have a PR. Before I left for the race I'd done a quick race pace calculation and determined I'd aim for 9:20 per mile. I didn't want to burn out, so after my shock at mile one I decided to pull back a bit.

Didn't work.

Mile 2? 8:57.

Okay, now I'm starting to freak out. Can I hold this pace? I took a quick assessment. The twinge in my right arch when we started? Gone. The weird shin pain I somtimes get if I go out too fast? Absent. Breathing? Seems to be good. I'm a little thirsty but I don't usually drink at this point in a run so I'm going to skip the water station.

And then I spy Jason up ahead. I do a fist-pump as I pass him on my way to the mile 3 marker.

I'm feeling good. Really good. But then I start to psych myself out. As the 5K runners split off to their finish and I keep going I start to wonder if I can keep this pace for much longer. I should have done the 5K! I think to myself. Why am I not doing the 5K?

Mile 3 and my Garmin beeps. 8:49. Okay, I think. I've banked a lot of time. If I fade at the end it's okay. But, I think to myself, what if I can hold this longer? How many minutes can I cut off my previous PR of 59:59? The mind is the athlete, I tell myself.

I admit, though, I did allow myself to slow down a little bit. The distance between the mile 3 marker and the mile 5 marker seemed to take forever. At that point you're running straight lines along the sides of major roads. Boring! I was mentally struggling at this point. I thought about when Robert from the running group paced me at my last race. I pretended he was next to me, encouraging me like last time. I thought about the text message that Lindsay sent me on Friday. She knew I could do this. I thought about writing this report and knew I wanted a good time to put in it. So, I kept moving.

Again, I skipped the water stops. And when I hit the mile 5 marker at 9:18 and saw my average pace was still hovering just slightly above 9 minutes per mile, I knew I was going to blow my PR out of the water.

Mile 6 was a blur. The course goes past the same spot I passed Jason earlier except this time I was almost hoping he wasn't there. I didn't think I would be as cheerful.

Finally, I could see the finish line up ahead. I tried to dig deep and find just a little bit more oomph. I did see Jason on the sidelines with the camera but I think I must have surprised him as he didn't get any good photos of me.

As I passed the timing mats at the finish line, I saw the most wonderful site: Cub Scouts holding out cups of cold water. I grabbed one as I felt my stomach spasm and threaten to purge anything that might be in there. I managed to keep it together as I sipped my cup of water. And, oh yeah, didn't I have to pee earlier? Turns out I still did. I hit the portapotties again and then walked around in a post-race euphoria while Jason Tweeted and I updated Facebook with my awesome accomplishment.

Because my final time? 56:26. 3 minutes and 33 seconds faster than my previous record of 59:59 and 4 minutes and 54 seconds faster than my time of 1:00:08 at this same race last year.

What a difference a year makes, huh?

We skipped the line for food and instead went to check out the Vietnam War Memorial Moving Wall.

This traveling version of the one in D.C. had the same impact on me as the when I visited the one in Washington. I don't know any names on the wall personally, but just like last time the number of names, the size of the wall, and the people looking, touching, and remembering made me a little choked up. On the back of all our race bibs were the names of soldiers. I don't know if they were all men and women who died in the Middle East, but mine had the name of an 18 year old from Littlestown, PA named Michael Dinterman. He died in Afghanistan on September 6th.

I can totally see why this race gets voted one of the best of the year by the Chicago Area Runners Association. It's well organized. It's a nice course. And, it's a great way to remember what Veterans' Day is about as opposed to just a day off work or school.

For me, it will also be the race where I realized that, yes, I can push myself.

Now, on to getting my 10K time to 55 minutes!

Race Results

Time: 56:26
Pace: 9:06 per mile
Overall place: 324 out of 529
Gender/Age Group: 18th out of 32

After the race, Jason and I headed to one of my favorite restaurants for brunch. I celebrated with breakfast and a pomegranate Bellini. And after that? A nap.



Route:--Elev. Avg:634 ft
Location:La Grange Park, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:11/08/09Up/Downhill: [+134/-134]
Time:08:58 AMDifficulty:2.1 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy with Haze
 62 F temp; 72% humidity
 62 F heat index; winds SE 6

Distance: 6.23 miles
Speed:6.6 mph
Pace:9' 04 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 55-0' 096.7+0.1-10 ft
28' 57-0' 076.7+0.1+10 ft
38' 49-0' 156.8+0.2-10 ft
49' 15+0' 116.5-0.1+7 ft
59' 18+0' 146.5-0.20 ft
69' 14+0' 106.5-0.10 ft
end8' 20-0' 447.2+0.6+3 ft
Versus average of 9' 04 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Saturday, November 7, 2009

October Wrap-Up

Image from TSBVI

It occurs to me that I never did a monthly summary post for October! I just got all excited about Halloween and forgot, I guess.

Anyway, the mileage total for October was 54.92. Only a few miles over my September total, but that was with two fewer runs. AND traveling for work twice in October. AND missing my usual Monday night runs for most of month.

So, yeah, I'm pretty happy with that.

I enjoyed volunteering at the Chicago Marathon last month even if it did mean freezing my toes off.

I enjoyed running on the golf course cart path in Orlando.

I enjoyed trying out a few new routes in my neighborhood.

I enjoyed running and socializing with OPRC.

And I definitely enjoyed the cooler weather.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed October. November is shaping up to be a good month, too. Re-discovering my lunch time running group, at least one 10K to run, a new gym to try. Hopefully I can keep this streak of enjoyable things going.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Double Day


Thursday started out with a lunchtime run. Interestingly, only me and one other guy showed up to run. I admit I was a little apprehensive to run with just one other person that I don't know all that well. I was afraid I'd be too slow. Apparently my Garmin decided to give me a confidence boost and, in a spectacular measuring failure, it told us we did our first mile in under seven minutes. And when I uploaded it to Bones in Motion, well, apparently I am one of the fastest women in the world. One mile is 4:25? Only in my wildest dreams.

Anyway, it seemed to get it's act together for the next 3 miles. I'd guess we did 4.5 miles instead of the 5 it thinks we did. I managed to keep up a pretty brisk pace until the last mile. Then then guy I was running with took a "short cut" across Grant Park (past Buckingham Fountain, pictured above, sans water) and I just dragged. See, in the chaos of the construction going on at our house, I didn't really have the space to make myself breakfast yesterday morning. So, I ate a small muffin and a banana. I scarfed a granola bar about an hour before running, but I still felt way under-fueled. If the guy I was with hadn't been pushing us, I definitely would have run much, much slower.

At the end of our run, a third guy caught up with us. He tried to talk me into running another 10K Turkey Trot with the group on the 22nd. I still haven't decided.


After work, I changed into gym clothes and headed to my new gym for my new member consultation and baseline fitness test. The goal is to get you set-up with their computerized workout development program and give you a baseline to compare your improvement against. It's really more for people who have no idea what they're doing but I thought it would be good to try out anyway.

The fitness test? Body fat percentage, resting heart rate, sit-and-reach test, number of sit-ups in one minute, 12 minute run on the treadmill, and 5-15 reps on various weight machines.

My scores?

Body fat: 22%
Resting heart rate: 64
Sit & Reach: 35.5 cm
Sit-ups in one minute: 32
Treadmill Run: 1.35 miles in 12 minutes (which calculated to a V02 Max of 37.35 ml/kg/min but I really have no idea what that means)

And that treadmill run? Super easy. I felt as if I could have gone for much longer at just under 9 minutes per mile. I even had that thing cranked up to over 7 MPH at the end. Of course, I had the incline set to 0 so that might have something to do with it. But it's been awhile since I had an easy treadmill run at anything other than 5.5 MPH. Additionally, I think it's cool that I added some additional mileage for the day. Estimated total for the day? 5.85 miles.

The trainer told me my running form was good and she was super impressed with my sit-up form. I guess all that Pilates has done something, at least!

I'm meeting with her again next week to go over some functional strength training exercises she suggests for runners. She says weight machines and gym classes are all well and good but that they don't always work the parts of the body that runners need to strengthen the most. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has to show me. Then I just need to figure out how to get it all into my routine!


Lunch time run stats (caution: these are probably WAY off)

Route:--Elev. Avg:590 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:+20 ft
Date:11/05/09Up/Downhill: [+164/-144]
Time:12:18 PMDifficulty:2.1 / 5.0
 53 F temp; 36% humidity
 53 F heat index; winds W 12

Distance: 5.01 miles
Speed:6.9 mph
Pace:8' 42 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
14' 25-4' 1713.5+6.6+19 ft
28' 36-0' 067.0+0.1-3 ft
38' 47+0' 056.8-0.1-13 ft
49' 40+0' 586.2-0.7+10 ft
59' 16+0' 346.5-0.40 ft
end9' 20+0' 386.4-0.5+6 ft
Versus average of 8' 42 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com